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Club Llangollen canal trip Autumn 2021 by Lindsay Ferguson

Club Llangollen canal trip Autumn 2021 by Lindsay Ferguson

What a grand day out 44 of us had on the canal last month when we paddled from Llangollen (at the Pavilion) to The Poachers Pocket pub just across the border into England (about 9.5 miles).

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Kayaks of all shapes and sizes, open canoes and paddle boards were there. We made a colourful flotilla that happily made its way along through varied and beautiful countryside, entertaining passers-by and canal boaters along the way.

Early autumn colours peppered the still mostly green trees. Every bend revealed new and lovely scenes. There were long, straight, tree lined stretches where the canal is wide, with large canopies of trees overhead. Elsewhere, narrow stretches with just single file paddling possible. We often pulled in to let canal boats by and friendly greetings were exchanged.
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Most fun and delightful of all were the aqueducts and tunnels Two of each! – One aqueduct had only a small wall separating the paddlers from a huge drop! (Whilst you are safe in a kayak, it’s no wonder paddleboarders must not stand up!). In the Whitehouse and Chirk tunnels, headtorches were needed. Accompanying the splashes of paddles and occasional hoots were some echoing bursts of song (keeping us entertained!)

The day was split in two with a stop for lunch and a photo opportunity. It was a lovely chance for the whole group to mingle, recharge and stretch our legs.

The longest pause of the day was when we waited in line behind 3 canal boats as they, in turn, waited for another 4 to pass through one tunnel! But it was great to see such buzz & activity about the canal.

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All in all, lots or variety and, even better, lots of good time spent with people happy to be together- old and new friends and acquaintances enjoying the super day out.

There are many people we all have to thank for making this club record of 44 on one trip such a grand day out. Mostly John Fay, of course, who led this trip and Sharon who helped him organise the groups with very detailed spread sheets! Experienced paddlers led small groups, people kindly took others boats and everybody was friendly. What a lovely mix for a delightful, grand day trip out for all!

Thank you!
Lindsay Ferguson

LCC – Open Canoe Descent of the River Spey (24 – 27 October 2021)

LCC – Open Canoe Descent of the River Spey (24 – 27 October 2021)

The five members of the party convened at our planned launching point near Kingussie at around lunchtime on Saturday and soon got busy with the car shuttle to Spey Bay, where we intended to finish the trip four days later. This involved a 130-mile round-trip, and it was early evening before we were ready to put the boats on the water and paddle to our first campsite – which was 100m downstream! (It should be noted that one of our party – Graham – had launched early on Saturday morning, much higher up stream than the rest of us, and had paddled 20km further). We were in our sleeping bags shortly after it got dark at 6:30pm.A group of people in a forest

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The next day we were out of our tents at 7:30am and ready to paddle by 9:00am. This was the pattern we would follow for the rest of the trip. There was not much flow on the river, but a strong south-westerly wind helped us make good progress. We soon reached Lochinsh and were swiftly blown across it. It was a pity that none of us had had the foresight to bring a sail. First lunch (or was it second breakfast?) was taken in a sheltered spot at the eastern end of the loch, where Graham engaged a couple of anglers in fish-orientated conversation.

We took third breakfast (or first/second lunch) at Aviemore, and then continued to an excellent camping spot on an island just upstream of Boat of Garten. We lit a small campfire and chatted around it until the ungodly hour of 8:30pm! I think whisky might also have been imbibed.

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The following morning, we packed our kit and paddled a few kilometres to Grantown on Spey, where we stopped for elevenses/second breakfast/first lunch etc. etc. Up to this point the paddling had undoubtably been pleasant, but it had also been rather flat. However, from here to Spey Bay, some 90km away, we would be treated to a continuous series of fun grade I/II rapids. The flow of the river also increased, making our daily progress less of an effort to achieve. The surrounding countryside swept past, and before long we met the infamous ‘Washing Machine’. This is a fairly straightforward Grade II wave-train, but it has a reputation for swamping open boats. Most of us donned helmets (just in case) and dropped into the rapid. We emerged unscathed, with only the minimal amount of water to be bailed out of our boats. That night we camped on another small island, just upstream of the Knockando rapids, and were lulled to sleep by the sound of tumbling water.

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The next day we packed the tents in the nick of time, just before the rain set in. The run down the Knockando rapids went without incident. Our next stop was at Aberlour, to use a ‘propper loo’ (!) and to visit the co-op. Thereafter, the river maintained plenty of interest, with numerous small rapids and the added bonus of leaping salmon. None actually jumped into any of the boats, but we lived in hope. That night we pitched camp near Fochabers. Shortly after our arrival we were visited by a couple of gents employed by the local landowner, who I think wanted to make sure that we weren’t a group of ne’er do wells intent on nicking their fish! They quickly realised that we were respectable canoeists (albeit slightly smelly by this stage) and Graham chatted to them for some time – about fish (again).

As usual, we arose around dawn and were soon paddling seawards, towards Spey Bay. Easy rapids just kept coming and coming, right up to the point where we could see the sea and smell the salt air. We paddled out of Spey Bay to the edge of the North Sea, and then eddy-hopped back into the bay against an ebb tide. We landed within a few meters of our parked cars, within earshot of the waves crashing onto the beach. As ever, the Spey had been a delightful mini expedition. The scenery was wonderful, and the paddling had been continuously interesting without being scary.

Paddlers: Mike Alter, Ruth Alter/Edwards, Graham Rowe, Anthony Brockway & Andy Garland.

Data sheet for the full journey / trip down the River Spey

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GB Freestyle Selections Weekend 23rd and 24th October 2021

GB Freestyle Selections Weekend 23rd and 24th October 2021

What a weekend that was. Two days of competition for a chance to represent Great Britain at the 2021 Freestle Canoeing World Championships in Nottingham 2022.

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Description automatically generated with low confidence Harvey and I were competing in OC1. We had watched the World Championships in Sort 2019 and thought that we could do that. I sold my big yellow Canoe and bought two freestyle OC1s.

Our first competition was the British Freestyle Championship 2021 held in Nottingham this year. Harvey came 4th place. I came in 5th. It was a really great experience, and I enjoyed the competition format a lot.

We entered for GB Selections held this weekend for a chance to represent Great Britain and try and promote the niche sport of OC1.

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Description automatically generated Selections was over two days. Two separate completions both held on Twin Wave, with points and percentages, that we don’t really understand, deciding the selection position. As I understand, the result on the day isn’t the final decision. I look forward to the mystery that unfolds with the OC1 category.

6 people going for the team. Adam Ramadam, Connor Proud, Christopher Noble, Jolyon Evans Jo Buddha , Harvey Harwood and myself.

Day one was a nightmare. A tricky Twin Wave produced No points for Harvey, Adam or me. 20 points for Jo and Connor, A group of people in a raft on a river

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Day two for me was a better wave. I won the day with 35 points. Connor and Jo scored 20 points, Harvey scored 10, with Chris and Adam on zero.

So, the winners of day one and day two scored zero on the other day. This means we can’t qualify, so Connor and Jo who scored points on both days are top of the leaderboard. However, neither reached the percentage score of Chris to qualify. So, it’s down to the Selection panel to make a decision as to who represents Great Britain. I wish Everyone good luck and keep my fingers crossed for them.

I really loved this weekend, and I’ve loved paddling oc1. Now that winter is coming, it’s time to put the open boat away and try and keep warm. Paddling an OC1 with water up to the gunwales in winter isn’t that pleasant! Next completion is Hurley Classic in March. Can’t wait!

Paul Harwood and Harvey Harwood (Freestyle Representative)

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Nottingham canoe polo tournament by Josh Cook

Nottingham canoe polo tournament by Josh Cook

Over the weekend 6 players from LCC have taken part in a friendly tournament down in Nottingham.

On the Saturday the team played 5 games after winning 3 games drawing 1 and losing 1 the team placed third in their group which meant the team wad through to the quarter final play offs.

Sunday morning the quarter final came. After a really hard-fought game losing 1:0 at half time. The team manged an amazing equaliser in the second half with 20 seconds left on the clock!! This meant the game went to golden goal. The team fought hard and after some fantastic defending LCC scored and were through to the semi-final.

LCC put up a stern fight in the semi-final but unfortunately lost the game 3:1. This meant the team went into the third and 4th round placing, so a bronze medal was still all to play for.

LCCs last game came and what a game it was again after going 1:0 down in the first half the team once again fought back hard scoring the equaliser with 1 minute left taking the game to another golden goal!

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Filled with confidence the team started off defending under relentless attack. As the game progressed LCC had a number of brilliant efforts on goal. In the final 2 minutes LCC got a long shot off which was then saved and deflected back into LCCs possession, and a blistering goal was scored!! Meaning LCC had secured third place!!

Well done to all for a fantastic weekend off polo.

The team was made up off:

Josh Cook

Morgan Rees

Josie Moss

Callum Housley

Aaron Jackson

Dean Flynn

Many thanks

Josh

2021 Scottish Sea Kayaking Trip to the Summer Isles Day 13

2021 Scottish Sea Kayaking Trip to the Summer Isles

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Day 13 Friday Eilean Tloram (Fishing Station) to Charlestown via loch Shieldaig and loch Kerry by Ian Bell

The aim today was to have a leisurely paddle to get us to the outskirts of Gairloch by mid-afternoon at latest, set up camp and sort car the ferry and create a very short paddle to the final landing and the journey home on Saturday.

Again, we woke to a misty start but less midges. So, with boat packed and positioned on the beach so we had circumnavigated Ellean Tioram, our island camp. We set of at 8:00am, backtracking on the latter part of previous days route. Stopping for elevenses and 1st lunch etc at Port Henderson. Still no sun, just mist and low cloud but conditions were warm and very calm. We noticed a pair of what appeared to be a set of abandoned A boat on the water

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Crocks on the beach. Have decided that they were too big for any of us but then noticed some activity in water just of the rocks at end the right-hand end of beach. At first, we thought it was an otter but soon realised it was the owner of said shoes, snorkelling and fishing for Scallops.

The next section of the route took us around the headland into Gairloch. We planned our next stop to be at Badachro, which just so happened to be a Pub with sheltered landing. Unfortunately, we discovered it was not open until midday so rather than hanging around in the rain for an hour or so we paddle on. We explored the sheltered yacht moorings and then on around into Loch Shielding and Loch Kerry where we had another lunch stop and passed several other day kayak groups.

After the second lunch we paddled on past Charlestown heading to the beach below the golf course which was our intended campsite for the night. On landing we found an adequate sandy beach but the rough ground to the edge of the golf course was not to the standard of previous camp sites. Indeed, far below it. The beach was ok but due to damp we were going to end up with very wet and sandy kit. After some debate, we agreed to paddle around to A group of boats in a body of water with a mountain in the background

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the car park and while Dave and Myself did the car ferry the others would explore the options of a commercial campsite for the final evening. This would give us a good night rest and good start for the long journey home.

While we were doing ferry the others would look after the kayaks and kit and check out the local coffee shop. This proved to be a hard job, but someone’s got to do it to support local economy

Andy had managed to reserve campsite in Gairloch, less than a mile or so away. We loaded up and set up camp on the commercial site. A quick shower, fresh clothes and then to the pub for a very pleasant end of trip meal. The pub hotel was quite busy but made us feel welcome and fitted us in without a reservation. I will certainly call back their next time I visit Gairloch.

A perfect end to two weeks of amazing paddling with excellent company and super weather. In my book, I have been on some excellent trips around the world but Scotland, in good weather offers world class paddling for all abilities. I am looking forward to next year’s trips.

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To see more pages from the whole trip go to the Major trips and Expedition reports tab on the club website or click here…….

2021 Scottish Sea Kayaking Trip to the Summer Isles Day 12

2021 Scottish Sea Kayaking Trip to the Summer Isles

Day 12 Thursday Seana Chamas Bay to Eilean Tloram (Fishing Station) by Frankie Annan

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Description automatically generated The 8:00am avoid the midges starts were a now well-established routine, breakfast at elevenses (which was pretty much never at 11am) and a coffee without a mouthful of Scottish midge. The gentle paddle to the Fish Station was yet more of the coast that just keeps giving. More caves to explore and rocks to hop around in the sunshine once the morning fog had burned off.

The search for the next 5* campsite bypassed some wonderful beaches that were discounted for being too busy (5 people). “Around the corner was a better option”, promised Keith. Redpoint beach did not disappoint. After a debate about which end of the beach to land on, Andy suggested the left end, so of course we went to the right towards the fishing refuge, and abandoned crofts landing on the beach to find yet another wonderful camping spot. We were at the farthest point south of our trip as Friday’s plan was a paddle into Gairloch via the pub – but that is a tale for someone-else’s write up!

With tents pitched, there was time to explore the sand dunes and walk along the beach. A collection of old rusty anchors was explored, along with the fishing shelter and the ruins, before walking along the beach and pondering if aliens had landed.

Another very relaxed day of paddling rounded off with a sunny afternoon on the beach, some strange conversation between Andy and Keith, that had something to do with cricket I believe, and an early night to avoid the midges.

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To see more pages from the whole trip go to the Major trips and Expedition reports tab on the club website or click here…….

2021 Scottish Sea Kayaking Trip to the Summer Isles Day 11

2021 Scottish Sea Kayaking Trip to the Summer Isles

Day 11 Wednesday Slagan Bay to Seana Chamas Bay via Rubha Reidh by David Grimes

I woke early to the haunting calls of a pair of loons on the water (that is, beautiful seabirds, not over-enthusiastic dawn kayakers) piercing the deafening silence of the bay and the ruined village above it.  I had assumed that the ruins were as a result of the clearances.  However, it seems that the clan chief of the Mackenzies in Gairloch refused to evict his tenants during the clearances of the 19th century and, as a result, cleared Highlanders from other communities made their way to settle in the area.  However, the population dwindled because of the decline in the agricultural economy.  Reputedly, there are strangers buried in the village – they came ashore to raid but had been spotted in advance and the villagers were ready and waiting for them.  The only hostile visitors waiting for us were the inevitable clouds of midgies – however there were times when I felt as though a swift despatch at the hands of a pitchfork wielding local might have been preferable to being tormented by a million psychopathic critters.

The day started somewhat overcast but calm with very little wind as we made the short crossing to the headland of Rubha Reidh, resisting the temptation of a detour down into Loch Ewe.  There were some hugely impressive red rock arches to explore.  As we worked our way along the coast to the Rua Reidh lighthouse, the coastal features were like a sea kayakers sweetshop with fantastic rock formations, caves and a very photogenic waterfall.  I say photogenic, it was until several of us tried to paddle underneath it and recreate the old Timotei adverts.  One particular cave was really memorable – a very narrow and dark 60ish yard long tunnel with a big dark void part way along – very spooky.

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As we passed the jetty and lighthouse of Rua Reidh, the grey clouds began to burn away, and it became an impossibly beautiful sunny afternoon.  We rounded the headland and a spectacular view of Skye opened up on our horizon.  I could see a distant small dark island off the coast of Skye.  Hmm, something about that shape…and it was almost imperceptibly moving…the realisation dawned that it was one of Her Majesty’s fleet of nuclear submarines cruising along the surface.  There was a tanker just further north, working its way up towards the Western Isles – Keith speculated that the sub might potentially use it for some target practice.  Luckily, it was quite a long distance away!

Just past the settlement of Melvaig above the coastline, we arrived at the ridiculously beautiful long, white sand bay of Seana Chamas. This was our campsite for the night, with a panoramic view across the turquoise sea to Skye.  A quick google reveals that not much happens in Melvaig other than a long history of producing and smuggling alcohol. Its big moment was in 1805 when Captain John McCallum’s schooner full of herrings was wrecked just offshore with the loss of all hands-on deck except one.  A local ne’er do well called John Smith stole the sea boots from one of the bodies washed up on shore.  Luckily, the one or two dog walking locals who ventured down onto the beach didn’t seem interested in all the kit spread out to dry in the sun.

The payoff for an early start was that we had arrived at Seana Chamas in the early afternoon.  So once our two camps were up (grassy one for sand refusers and sandy one for sheep tick refusers), it was actually like a proper holiday, with plenty of time to relax and chill.  A superb and memorable day ended with the customary gourmet cooking, good conversation, a swig (or several) of Bunnahabhainn and the reddening sun sinking into the sea in front of us.

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To see more pages from the whole trip go to the Major trips and Expedition reports tab on the club website or click here…….

Kingsway Pool starts back on THURSDAYS 9:00-10:00pm

Kingsway Pool starts back on THURSDAYS at 9:00pm

Kingsway Pool – Widnes Thursday (Beginners, general paddling and rolling)

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Thursday, 7 October ’21   8:45pm – 10pm BST

Kingsway Pool, Kingsway, Widnes, WA8 7QH

20 spaces available
Click on our booking page to reserve a place………
More information from our venues page……

Every Thursday 1 hour Club Pool Session (The session runs from 9:00pm to 10:00pm but you are advised to arrive for 8:45pm).

Session Supervisor(s) Richard Clews; Stuart Conway; Nick Coughlin; Dave Reynolds & Keith Steer

Cost: £5.00 for 1 hour, free use of boats and equipment and free coaching. Plenty of club boats and paddles available or bring your own. (These must be clean from all forms of contamination, ie washed inside and out with freshwater.) Sea kayaks will be allowed but only if at least two places left (18 or less from 20 places). Should the pool fully book you may have to use a pool boat!

You MUST be a full member of the club to paddle with us

2021 Scottish Sea Kayaking Trip to the Summer Isles Day 10

2021 Scottish Sea Kayaking Trip to the Summer Isles

Day 10 Tuesday Fraoch Eilean Mor, around greenstone point to Slagan Bay by Andy Garland

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We had spent the night camped at yet another idyllic spot. It had a backdrop of the Torridon mountains to the east and the Black Cuillin of Skye across the sea to the west. Added to that, a golden beach extended to the south.

This beach was made of several trillion particles of sand – tiny, tiny grains of silica that did their upmost to invade absolutely everything. Despite fastidious efforts to keep the tent clean it still got everywhere…in my socks, sleeping bag, mug, toothbrush and into just about every bodily orifice that I possess. You might guess correctly that a sandy beach is not my favourite place to camp. Anyway, as usual we were on the water at a respectable time, and we continued our journey south. Before long we paddled past a tiny settlement, called…Sand! (seriously).

After that the coast took on a much rockier character as we passed around Greenstone Point. The winds continued to be light, and we had great paddling conditions.

Our next camp was at Slagan Bay. Now then, after the best part of two weeks on the water the days had begun to blur into one, and I have no recollection of what Slagan Bay actually looked like. However, I can confidently say that I did not camp on sand!

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To see more pages from the whole trip go to the Major trips and Expedition reports tab on the club website or click here…….

2021 Scottish Sea Kayaking Trip to the Summer Isles Day 09

2021 Scottish Sea Kayaking Trip to the Summer Isles

Day 09 Monday Càrn Nan Sgeir (island) to Camas a’ Chruthcach via small village with wind generators and solar panels (Scraig) then across little loch Broome to Anthrax island by Catriona Hare

Having enjoyed yesterday’s long car shuttle (Sunshine and scenery make all the difference.) and the fantastic sunset on last night’s beach camp  I was looking forward to today’s paddle. Today I would complete an unexpected two-day bonus extension to the first week. Keith found somewhere I could pick up my car at the end of the day.

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We set off promptly at 8:45, 15 minutes before we had agreed to leave, at the start of week two the packing was getting quicker even without midges. The midges were kept at bay by the wind which also meant it was definitely a cag day from the outset, only my second of the trip. We started off by paddling round the small island we had camped on the night before, seeing the now infamous wind turbine from day 1 ! After the circumnavigation we paddled across to the mainland near Cailleach Head. There was a reasonably strong northerly wind so for this part of the trip we had a following sea. We rounded Caillach Head and entered A picture containing sky, outdoor, water, beach

Description automatically generated the mouth of Little Loch Broom and headed down the northern coast to Scoriag, where we were sheltered from the wind for a time. Scoriag is an isolated off grid community with no road access, I wondered if it was a suitable working from home location. We stopped by the jetty at Scoriag for second breakfast or first lunch at about 11:00.

We headed off from Scoriag across the mouth of Little Loch Broom towards the cliffs on the opposite side near Leac an Ime. From here we headed up the coast to the headland and round into Gruinard Bay, with impressive view of the hills on the mainland. By now Keith was mentioning Anthrax at frequent intervals and explaining that Gruinard (Anthrax) Island had been declared safe. Gruinard Island was requisitioned as a remote site for biological warfare experiments in WWII. (I am not sure of their definition of remote, it’s only a Km from the mainland.) The island was declared safe in 1990 by the Government, well sheep were no longer dying after the island had been decontaminated by spraying it with formaldehyde diluted with seawater. This was obviously reassuring.

We continue round the headland to a bay near Miotag, where we stopped to decide together if we went to Gruinard Island and for lunch. The tide was going out and the beach was muddy, so a quick decision was made to go round the island but not camp on it, and to leave without lunch.

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Description automatically generated with low confidence The circumnavigation of the island was fun, and I was pleased I didn’t bail out to my car sooner (I wasn’t looking forward to the long drive to Edinburgh following a day’s paddle.). We paddled up the east side into a northerly wind, which was quite hard going followed by a cross wind with side on waves on the north and the following sea down the west side, which gave us good conditions for rock hopping. Keith was the only person who opted to land on the island on the tip of the sand spit at Sròn a’ Mhoill. I may have been tempted, but by then I had seen how” stylishly” Keith had landed and there were likely to be a few more people with cameras out for anyone else having a go at landing. If Keith doesn’t get anthrax, does that make him a sheep?

We paddled across to the jetty on the mainland near my car. Thankfully Ian shouted at us to paddle due east, so we were not pushed south of the jetty by the northerly wind. We landed near the jetty, and I went to get my car from a nearby layby while Keith, Ian and Andy emptied my boat and moved it and my stuff next to the road from the landing place. I am not entirely sure how my boat got passed the deer gate, I know Ian “shimmied” under the gate to help me load the boat on the car etc.; this made me feel guilty briefly. The rest of the group had a late lunch near the jetty. I wanted to join them, but I didn’t want to stay where I was parked for longer than necessary, so I drove back to civilisation, first layby cleaner clothes, second stop a lovely cup of coffee at the Gale centre in Gairloch.

The rest of the group paddled on to a small bay, Camas a’ Chruthcach, for their evening camp. I was sad to be going but pleased that I had an extra couple of days paddling, and even more pleased when the rock concert I needed to leave early for was excellent. Maybe I don’t want to live in an isolated off grid community after all.

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To see more pages from the whole trip go to the Major trips and Expedition reports tab on the club website or click here…….